Written by a very dear friend of mine Chuck Clevenger, he gave me premission to post it here for you!
Saving Private Ryan is one of the greatest movies ever made. While the extremely realistic portrayal of war-time violence is often the first thing that comes to mind, this is a movie that has something to say at many levels.
[Warning, if you haven't seen this movie, spoilers are coming.]
Three brothers are killed in World War II and their mother gets notified of all three deaths on the same day. The Army decides to send the fourth brother, Private James Ryan, back home so that the Ryan family won't suffer a fourth casualty.
Captain Miller (played by Tom Hanks) leads a group of 7 men to go behind enemy lines, locate Private Ryan and bring him home.
Finding Private Ryan is a daunting task. The men survive many brutal encounters with the enemy, but finally succeed in locating Ryan. Their last task is to hold their position in a small French town in the face of oncoming enemy soldiers.
The casualty rate of their mission was very high.
Toward the end of the movie, Captain Miller tells Private Ryan that the cost of saving him and sending him back home was high. Many perished in that rescue effort. As he lay dying, Captain Miller exhorts Private Ryan to "Earn it" – to live the rest of his life in memory of those who died for his. He exhorted Ryan to go home and live the kind of life that would make the sacrifice of the other soldiers worthwhile.
A bit later, the movie takes us to the present. Private Ryan, now an older grandfather, is standing alongside his wife, children and grandchildren in a French cemetery. He's staring at the tombstone of Captain Miller. He breaks. Tears flood his eyes. "Tell me I have led a good life," he commands his wife. "Tell me I'm a good man." He did remember. He knew he wouldn't be alive but for the sacrifice of Captain Miller and his men who pulled off a near-impossible rescue.
As his family gathered around him, his eyes overflowed with tears and his wife assured him that he was a good man.
As our nation commemorates those who have served us in battle, let us strive to live a life worthy of their sacrifice. Let us never forget the price they paid for our freedom.
In many ways, we're all like Private Ryan. A great price was paid for our lives. Blood was also shed for us that we might have life. And, let us remember Him who died for all of us. As we drink His blood and eat His flesh, let us live a life worthy of the Life that was given for us. Let us not take communion in an unworthy fashion. Let us not live our redeemed lives in an unworthy fashion.
And, may we all hear the Father say that we too have led a good life. May we hear "Well done, good and faithful servant."